Republic of Botswana (4/12/05)
TAUTONA TIMES no 43 of 2005
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Over the past 12 months we have, however, taken further note of what may be an emerging trend in which females are going for testing in significantly greater numbers than males. When we began our struggle against HIV/AIDS we promised to wage war on the virus. We certainly shall not achieve victory in this struggle if men in greater numbers than women desert the battlefield leaving it to the women to soldier alone." - H.E. the President [D 1]
A. Government can not pre-judge
B. December Press Schedule
C. The Week That Was
D. Statements by H.E. the President at the:
1) World Aids Day commemoration in Letlhakane (1/12/05).
2) Baylor Medical College dinner (30/11/05).
E. OP Press Office Notices:
1) 29/11/05: NACA Response to Monitor article "UN Castes Doubt on NACA statistics."
2) Additional notices and forwarding
F. Other Voices
1) 1/12/05: "Botswana could be an Ideal location for offshore investors"
2) 1/12/05: "Botswana eyes natgas as diamond output plateaus"
3) 30/11/05: Ditshwanelo on "International Publicity on the Basarwa."
4) 2/12/05: "Don't dare attack Alice and Braam"
G. Botswana in the Global Media November 2005
A. Government can not pre-judge
Of late there has been some press comment suggesting a need for Government to revive consultations on the future management of the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) with the local communities and other concerned stakeholders. This Office appreciates the sentiment. Ideally, the management plan for the CKGR should have been long finalised. Such a step is widely recognised a prerequisite for those living in central Kgalagadi region, as well as the nation as a whole, to derive greater benefit from the Reserve.
It should be understood, however, that for the time being further progress is constrained by the ongoing case before the High Court. This case was not initiated by Government, and thus it can not be dropped by Government. While the case remains before the Court, Government is, moreover, legally bound to not undertake actions that would in anyway prejudge the outcome of the case. For this reason Government is currently unable formally consider, amend, adopt and/or reject the latest draft management plan for the Reserve.
Neither can Government undertake any other measure that would be prejudicial to the applicants in the case, who likewise are legally bound to respect the status quo as it was at the onset of the case.
It should be understood that Government is further constrained on commenting on the case in the context of the sub judice rules of the court.
Last week to vote for Robi
Our own Miss Botswana, Ms. Tshegofatso Robi, has gone to Sanya, China, to represent us in this year's Miss World contest. The pageant, whose finals are on Saturday, is expected to attract a record international television audience. The London bookies place Ms. Robi's chances as 1-100. This time, however, we can all help even the odds by voting for Robi by SMS. In Botswana send her contest I.D., which is MW 602, to number 14900 (Mascom & Orange). Elsewhere readers may wish to check how to vote on your local cell phone network.
- Dr. Jeff Ramsay, Press Secretary to the President (4/12/05)
Contacts: Office Telephone: (267) 3975154 & Facsimile: (267) 3902795.
Cell: (267) 71318598. E-mail: email@example.com.
B. December Press Schedule:
As always the events listed below, which represent only those parts of H.E. the President's schedule open in whole or part to press coverage, are subject to change. When possible and necessary, updates will be forwarded. Members of the Press are also encouraged to contact the sponsors of the various events listed below for further programme details and possible updates.
Thursday (8/12/05): During the day, H.E. the President will be in Bobonong to open the Botswana Tribal Administration Service Association Conference. In the evening, from 19:30, he will hold a reception for invited members of the Botswana media fraternity at Boipuso Hall
Tuesday (13/11/05): In the morning H.E. the President will open a meeting of the SADC Parliamentary Forum.
Monday (19/12/05): in the afternoon, at 15:00, H.E. the President will meet with Mr. Ira Magaziner of the William J. Clinton Foundation, at the Office of the President
C. OP Press opportunities for the week ending 4/12/05:
Monday (28/11/05): H.E. the President's morning schedule included farewell calls on the part of the outgoing High Commissioner of India and Head of the European Union Mission.
Tuesday (29/11/05): At noon, H.E. the President received a cheque donated to the Masiela Trust Fund by Choppies SuperStores.
Wednesday (30/11/05): In the afternoon, H.E. the President received a courtesy call from the CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim company, Mr. Paul Stewart, and the new bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Southern Africa, the Rt. Rev. Johannes Malebogo Mashapa. In the evening, he attended a dinner in his honour by CEO of the Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Peter G. Trebler [D 2].
Thursday (1/12/05): H.E. the President was the guest of honour at the World AIDS Day observance in Letlhakane [D 1].
Friday (2/12/05): In the afternoon, His Excellency the President received a donation from the Kabelano Trust Fund for a charity of his choice.
D STATEMENTS BY H.E. THE PRESIDENT
D 1) REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. FESTUS G. MOGAE, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA, AT THE COMMEMORATION OF THE 2005 WORLD AIDS DAY AT LETLHAKANE (1/12/05)
Director of Ceremonies; Hon. Assistant Minister of Labour & Home Affairs, Mr. O. Mfa; Hon. MPS for Boteti South & North, Mr. L Mokalake & Mr. S. Tsogwane; for Mahalapye East, Mrs. Botlogile Tshireletso & Selibe Phikwe East, Mr. Nonofo Molefhi; Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane; Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps; Kgosi O Modirwagale; Chairperson of the Boteti Sub-District Multi-Sectoral AIDS Committee, Mme Boresetse Modise; Director of BOTUSA; Dr Margaret Davies; Heads of International and Civil Society Organisations; Honourable Councillors, here present; Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen:
1. Let me begin by saying how glad I am to have this opportunity join the people of the Boteti in marking World AIDS Day. I am, moreover, honoured by your invitation to me to give this keynote address.
2. There is, however, nothing pleasant about the scourge that has brought us together. This annual event is a sombre opportunity for those of us who survive to remember those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS. It is also a time for us to rededicate ourselves to combating the further spread of the virus.
3. To achieve our ultimate goal of fully overcoming HIV/AIDS we must continue to be frank in our discourse about it. With an overall national prevalence rate for the virus of 17%, rising as high as 40% among 30-35 year olds, it is clear that our country remains among the world's most heavily infected and affected. We are not going to quarrel with anyone who prefers a higher figure if it makes them feel good.
4. We also acknowledge that virus is not as of yet under control, much less conquered. What we have said is that we now have the capacity to overcome the scourge. But, as I observed in my recent address to Parliament, the key question that now confronts us is do we have sufficient will within us to realise our capacity?
5. Over the past year we have successfully rolled out anti-retroviral treatment to an increasing number of people, as of now to some 54,000 people altogether. This achievement is generally having a positive effect on the wellbeing of the recipients and their families. Yet, we need to recognise that those on therapy are still infected, and thus can still infect others.
6. In the final analysis achieving a final victory over virus is more a matter of individual behaviour than collective action. Institutions such as Government, along with various Civil Society organisations, can provide guidance and support, as well as therapy. In such efforts we hopefully will continue to benefit from the invaluable assistance we have been receiving from friends in the international community. But, in the end, it is up to each and every one of us to assume personal responsibility for our own lives, and those around us. We are now at a critical point in which each and every one of us must decide, for him or herself, whether to be part of the problem, or part of its solution.
7. In terms of capacity, it is by now well known that we have also established proactive testing programmes so that every Motswana can know his or her HIV status. The response to these initiatives has been encouraging, though by no means universal. This in itself is important for it is only by knowing one's status that we as individuals are empowered to either:
* Live positively with the virus, accessing available treatment, while avoiding behaviour that risks the wellbeing of others; or
* Live in such a way as to ensure that we and those closest to us, remain virus free.
8. It is often said that "knowledge is power". In the case of HIV/AIDS this is only true to the extent that we empower ourselves to live responsibly with or without the virus.
9. And so it is appropriate that we have come together this day as a nation, and with the rest of the international community, in recommitting ourselves to meeting what remains the greatest challenge our nation has yet faced in its entire history.
10. The common theme of this year's World AIDS Day commemorations is "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise".
11. One may ask what does this theme mean to us? What promise did we make? The answer, in part lies in our Long-term Vision, which explicitly commits all of us towards realising an HIV/AIDS free future, where there will be no new infections.
12. The answer, in part, also lies in the individual promises many of us have made, and in some cases broken, to remain faithful to our families.
13. Then there is the promise that many of us have made to a higher authority to live our lives in accordance with the moral codes of our various religious beliefs.
14. The promise is also implicit in the natural covenant that exists between generations. We are, ourselves, the legacies of those who came before us. As such we have a responsibility to ensure that through us the legacy of our ancestors is passed on to our own offspring.
15. Keeping the promise is also about our own sense of self worth. If some among us do not respect themselves sufficiently to avoid self-destructive behaviour, the lives of others will remain at risk.
16. As I have already noted potential fulfilment of the promise of a better future can be found in the fact that many more of us have been testing. Over the past 12 months we have, however, taken further note of what may be an emerging trend in which females are going for testing in significantly greater numbers than males.
17. When we began our struggle against HIV/AIDS we promised to wage war on the virus. We certainly shall not achieve victory in this struggle if men in greater numbers than women desert the battlefield leaving it to the women to soldier alone.
18. This simple fact is underscored by additional evidence that suggests that the reluctance of many males to test is possibly beginning to be reflected in our death rates. Between June and September of this year, a total of 132 deaths were recorded within Government Ministries. Out of this number 76% percent of the deceased were male.
19. While it would be premature to conclude that this short-term pattern is reflective of a broader trend it should, nonetheless, certainly be taken as a wake up call to all of us men who continue to take their status for granted.
20. Besides avoiding testing, it is unfortunate to note that some male partners have also been discouraging and even preventing their pregnant partners from enrolling in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme. This is a missed opportunity to save two lives, that of the child and mother!
21. It takes both courage and love to test. And so the question we males should be asking ourselves are we brave enough, and compassionate enough, to do what we know is right? Do we have the strength to meet our challenges? Are we strong enough to protect our families? I am here reminded of quotation from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, in which the great Roman observed that:
"cowards die many times before their deaths the valiant taste of death but once."
22. Let us the men folk of this country, therefore, use today's occasion to make our own promise to hold up our half of the sky in the struggle against the virus. Let us vow to protect our families and community by protecting ourselves. Let us promise to stop AIDS by being responsible to ourselves and others.
23. Bagaetsho, another emerging concern is the number of deliveries among HIV positive mothers who are already on antiretroviral therapy. Data indicates that between July and September this year just over 9% of all deliveries occurred to women who were already on treatment. This is clear evidence that some of those who have been put on treatment are still engaging in unprotected sex.
24. It would be most regrettable if the very same people who have been saved through the antiretroviral treatment became a driving force behind a new HIV/AIDS epidemic in this country. In this respect, it is absolutely vital that all people who are now on treatment adhere to their treatment protocols. Otherwise they are likely to develop drug resistance, which can threaten the future efficacy of the therapy for others as well as themselves.
25. On a more positive note, I am delighted to report that the uptake in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme continues to rise, achieving 83% over the past three months. Of course we remain worried about the minority who still refuse prophylaxis, therefore exposing their infants to increased risk of infection.
26. In summation my message is simple: to win this war we must all look within ourselves, to see the promise of our own lives, and outside ourselves, to the promises we must keep with others in order to survive.
27. Before concluding, let me acknowledge the support we have continued to receive over the past year from our development partners from abroad, along with civil society and the private sector, in our national response to HIV/AIDS. Not only have they complemented Government's efforts financially, they have also provided much needed equipment and skills.
28. Bagaetsho, finally let me thank the organisers of this event, as well as all of you for turning up in large numbers to commemorate this day. World AIDS Day must never be seen as an event that comes and goes. HIV/\/AIDS affects us on every day of the week and every month of the year. As I said at the beginning of my remarks today should be a day of reflection and remembrance. Let us therefore leave with the resolve to make a difference. The onus is on us as individuals to keep the promise and stop AIDS.
29. To the young people, some of whom have been providing us with lovely entertainment this morning, live long! Live long for us! I thank you for your attention. Nelwang ke Pula!
D 2) REMARKS BY H.E. MR. FESTUS G. MOGAE, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA, FOR TONIGHT'S BAYLOR PEDEADRIC AIDS INITIATIVE DINNER (30/11/05)
Director of Ceremonies ; Honourable Ministers here present; Excellencies Heads of Diplomatic Mission and International Organisations; Professor Peter Tabler, President and CEO of Baylor College of Medicine; Professor Mark Kline, Director, Baylor International Paediatric AIDS Initiative; Mr. Peter Dolan, President and CEO of Bristol Myers Squibb; Professor G.M. Anabwani, Director of the Botswana - Baylor Children's Clinical Centre of Excellence; Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Let me begin by saying how grateful I am to be hosted this evening by Professors Peter Traber and Mark Kline. Given all that these two gentlemen/scholar activists, along with their colleagues, have done to assist us in this country, it is really I who should be hosting them.
2. As I stand before this distinguished gathering, I am once more reminded of the saying: "In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends".
3. Here in Botswana we certainly know who our true friends are, they are the ones who have helped over the years to meet our many challenges. In this respect, over the past few years the generous people of the Baylor Paediatric AIDS initiative have certainly numbered among our truest, most loyal, friends.
4. Let me here pause to once more recognise the presence of Mr. Dolan whose company, Bristol Myers-Squibb, have also been amongst our stalwart supporters in the struggle against HIV/AIDS.
5. Ladies & Gentlemen, my task tonight is not to deliver a speech, we have already benefited from the learned and provocative remarks of those who spoke before. I rather wish to take this opportunity to briefly respond to some of what has already been said on your behalf.
6. In his own remarks here tonight, Mr. Dolan spoke of the positive potential of private-public sector partnerships. This is a concept that my Government has already embraced and now seeks, to varying degrees, to better implement in many of its operations even beyond the health sector.
7. I would here further note that, in the struggle against HIV/AIDS, the Baylor Centre of Excellence and Bristol Myers-Squib has certainly become a model of what public-private sector partnership should be and can achieve.
8. The Centre's buildings were designed by U.S. engineers in consultation with local construction companies. Staffing at the Centre has also been a joint effort between my Government and the Baylor College of Medicine and Bristol Myers-Squib.
9. Our school children, along with other members of the local community, have also been involved in the project, adorning the facility with their artwork.
10. The product of all these collaborative partnerships is a functional facility of aesthetic beauty, which thus provides a warm welcoming environment for the children who benefit from its services.
11. In terms of the scope of the benefit, I am pleased to report that over 1400 HIV-infected children now receive specialised anti-retroviral therapy through the Centre. There is also a model clinic, where families are counselled and treated the same day.
12. A am further informed that the Centre, in partnership with such Community Based Organisations such as the Therisanyo Catholic Commission, the Gabane Home based Care Group and the Banna ba Keletso Orphanage, has established an outreach programme.
13. At present, this programme is catering to the needs of some 1000 orphans and vulnerable children in the eastern Kweneng region.
14. An outreach team is currently travelling to these sites 2-3 times a week to carry out medical, nutritional and psychosocial assessments, while also piloting home based HIV testing using rapid kits.
15. In the spirit of public-private sector partnership, this effort has also received support from the local business community, most notably the Kgalagadi Beverages Trust and Debswana.
16. Providing both in-house and outreach services has all along gone hand in hand with infield human resource development. In the short period of its existence hundreds of health professionals have already received such on the job training.
17. As both the services and training programmes of the Centre of Excellence steadily expanded there is, however, an obvious need for even greater partnership to ensure sustainability. I understand that this is especially true in the area of specialist staffing.
18. In this context, I listened with interest to Mr. Donan's announcement of the creation of a "Paediatric AIDS Corps". This is certainly something of potential value that we have been introduced to tonight. For now we welcome the presence of these young men and women among us.
19. We are gathered here tonight on the eve of our now annual observance of World AIDS Day. Tomorrow, Batswana will join people throughout the world in remembering the continuing human toll caused by HIV/AIDS. Along with the rest of humanity we shall also once more rededicate ourselves to overcoming the virus.
20. For us the day will also be a grim reminder of our status as one of the countries most seriously affected by the pandemic.
21. As such we shall need to take stock of our efforts so far. While the path ahead remains daunting we will not allow ourselves to be sidetracked in our determination to reach our goal of a future of no new infections, while catering for the needs of all who are already infected.
22. This has been, and for the foreseeable future will undoubtedly remain, an uneasy journey. It is, therefore, comforting to know that along the way we shall continue to have at our side such firm allies as the Baylor College of Medicine and Bristol-Myers Squib.
23. But, before I conclude let me also acknowledge with appreciation this evening's announcement the University of Botswana and the Baylor College of Medicine have signed an agreement to collaborate in the establishment of our own Medical School. I thank you
E OP PRESS OFFICE NOTICES & FORWARDING
E 1) 29/11/05: NACA Response to Monitor article (28/11/05) "UN Castes Doubt on NACA statistics."
We refer to the above article. The Botswana Government through National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA) in collaboration with Central Statistics Office (CSO) conducted the Botswana AIDS Impact Survey II (BAIS II) between February and August 2004. The key objective of the survey was to generate a nationally representative population-based estimate of HIV/AIDS prevalence amongst the population aged 18 months and over in the country. This followed a widely shared concern that hitherto available figures obtained through antenatal care (ANC) sentinel surveillance were insufficient for this purpose.
ANC sentinel surveillance focuses on pregnant women of childbearing age (15 to 49 years) who present themselves for antenatal care. In 2003, this method yielded a figure of 37.4% for Botswana, which was loosely understood to be an indication of HIV prevalence among the adult population. Extrapolating this figure to the general population inherently blinds oneself to the obvious fact that pregnant women, by virtue of being pregnant, are a risk group in the sense that they have been exposed to unprotected sexual activity. However, prevalence rates derived through this method are generally only acceptable as a proxy for prevalence among the adult population, not the whole population. Needless to mention, caution should be taken in interpreting these figures as well.
Figures obtained from BAIS II, (17.1% for the general population, and 25.3% for the adult population 15 to 49 years) are taken as a "snapshot" indication of the magnitude of the HIV burden in Botswana in 2004. These statistics alone cannot tell us whether the epidemic is increasing or decreasing, since no similar study was ever conducted in Botswana. Further, it should be noted that for highly generalized epidemics such as those of Sub-Saharan Africa including Botswana, prevalence rate among the adult population is not the best indicator to monitor decline or otherwise of HIV/AIDS. Moreover, with advanced HIV treatment and care services availed to tens of thousands of eligible people living with HIV/AIDS as is the case in Botswana, we should expect longer life expectancy of PLWHAs, thus sustained high HIV prevalence.
Under these circumstances, the appropriateness of HIV prevalence as a measure becomes questionable. Instead, the incidence rate, which measures occurrence of new infections, is more preferable. While incidence is generally difficult to measure, it can be approximated by prevalence rates among 15 to 19 year olds. Preliminary results from the 2005 sentinel surveillance estimate this figure at 18.3%, down from 22.8% in 2003. Indeed, this is an indication that Botswana is making progress in its fight against HIV and AIDS, contrary to the conclusion drawn by the UN.
In conclusion, it should be noted that different methods of obtaining data could lead to different results or converge. In the case of HIV and AIDS one thing is clear - regardless of method used, our nation continues to face serious threat of HIV and AIDS, and all efforts should be devoted towards devising interventions aimed at alleviating this problem. We should devote our energy towards preventing new infections and treating the infected, instead of engaging in counter productive arguments over superiority of statistics. Otherwise, in the process we risk losing sight of the purpose for collecting these statistics which is to design appropriate response strategies. We also strongly believe that it is incumbent upon every professional to state all limitations associated with any data they generate or use, instead of creating misleading impressions about one data source over the other.
E 2) Additional notices and forwarding for the week ending 4/12/05:
* 30/11/05: "Climate Change will dry Africa"
* 1/12/05: "Botswana could be an ideal for offshore investors" [below]
* 1/12/05: "Botswana eyes natgas as diamond output plateaus" [below]
* 23/11/05 "Artist help couple with African AIDS orphanage plan"
* 23/11/05: "African Copper Dukwe project construction expected 2006."
F Other Voices
The views expressed below are not necessarily shared by this Office or Government:
F1) 1/12/05: Computer Business Review (UK) "Botswana could be an Ideal location for Offshore Investors Looking for New Opportunities.
Available online at: www.cbronline.com/article_feature.asp?guid=D8D6CA95-7BB6-49C6-BC8A-346380E573E7
A new report by independent market analyst Datamonitor (DTM.L) says Botswana is making the right move to develop a strong contact center offshoring sector. However the report, ' Profiting from Contact Centre Outsourcing in Botswana ', stipulates that her government must immediately address the high telco charges currently being levied to contact centres, if the industry is to be allowed to move forward and realise what could be a very promising future.
"The excellent incentives which the government has afforded foreign investors together with an educated labour force are core strengths", says Peter Ryan, outsourcing and offshoring analyst with Datamonitor and author of the report. "However, elevated telco costs are a major drawback. If the current charges remain in place, Botswana's industry has no chance over the long term, relative to international competition."
Good vertical and geographic opportunities
Target markets ideal for Botswana include English-speaking locations such as North America, the UK and Australia / New Zealand. Ryan also identifies South Africa as an excellent possibility:
"South Africa is rapidly becoming one of the world's highest quality locations from which to serve offshore customers. However, with that comes a higher cost per agent. Botswana is well-positioned to provide nearshore contact centre services to South African customers, especially given their close proximity and common commercial/popular cultures."
Botswana has several areas in which it can develop its offshore contact centre competencies, which include outbound calling, debt collection with the possibility of expanding into a full range of business process outsourcing (BPO) services.
Datamonitor expects outsourced call centre agent positions* in Botswana to rise from a very small base of less than 100 to nearly 500 by 2009. Excellent incentives and an educated labour force are key strengths for Botswana
The report identifies a number of targeted incentives available to foreign investors provided by the Botswana government. They include generous training subsidies, low corporate taxes, a VAT holiday and the permission to import specialized staff from abroad.
The government has adopted pro-active investment policies and there are aggressive outward marketing campaigns by local economic development agencies in tandem with the private sector. Add to this the economic stability and ongoing economic reform, coupled with one of Africa's most educated workforces. "Given these, Botswana could be an ideal location of choice for offshore investors looking for new offshore opportunities," says Ryan.
However, elevated telco costs the main competitive threat to the
Industry. According to Datamonitor, offshore investors are concerned, however, about what are extremely high call charges levied by the Botswana government. Not only are they significantly more costly than those found in most other offshore destinations, they also threaten the long term viability of the contact centre industry here.
Ryan points out that India, the Philippines and many other offshore locations have been successful in developing their offshore industries through a combination of targeted incentives and low call costs.
"Botswana has half the equation correct. However, the local telecommunications provider must immediately address the high call charges currently being levied to contact centres. If it can succeed in reducing these levies to competitive levels, this industry will have nowhere to go but up."
F2) 1/12/05: Reuters ©: "Botswana eyes natgas as diamond output plateaus" By Laura MacInnis
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Botswana is eyeing natural gas production as a means to offset an expected cooling in diamond mining, the southern African country's minister for minerals, energy and water resources said on Wednesday.
Charles Tibone told Reuters in an interview that Botswana's diamond mining output remains strong but warned that a looming slowdown could threaten the mineral-dependent country.
"The existing mines, although they are prolific in their production, we see them plateauing soon in terms of their production," he said on the sidelines of a conference run by the U.S.-based Corporate Council on
"This is why we are so keen on diversifying the economy away from diamonds so as we hit the plateau and revenues start declining, we can have other revenue bases as well."
Botswana is the world's top diamond producer by value, and diamonds make up half of the government's revenues and one third of gross domestic product.
Tibone said natural gas linked to the country's huge coal deposits could prove another important economic generator.
He said he was meeting business people in Washington to seek investors to develop Botswana's industry for coal-based methane, a clean-burning gas extracted from coal mines.
Methane is the chief ingredient of natural gas. The U.S. Energy
Department estimates millions of cubic feet of methane escape daily
From active coal mines and some have seized its potential as an unconventional energy source.
Botswana is estimated to have 200 billion tonnes of coal.
Another way to dampen the impact of slower mine extraction is to do more diamond refining in Botswana and southern Africa more broadly, Tibone said, stressing a need for more local polishing and manufacturing industries.
"If that tradition could be established, then even if the production itself drops then at least we could maintain some activity," he said.
Plans for diamond giant De Beers, which is 45 percent owned by Anglo American, to move diamond mixing or aggregation operations to Botswana from London are "progressing well," Tibone said.
The proposal, agreed earlier this year, is designed to bypass De Beers' traditional mixing process in which uncut gems from around the world are mixed in London and sold in batches.
Tibone said De Beers' concerns about a new South Africa diamond law had been largely allayed and said a consensus was emerging that more local processing was good for the region.
"Naturally London will continue to have a significant role in the marketing and so forth, but we think that the physical aspects of dealing with diamonds should be nearer where the diamonds are produced," he said.
Tibone estimated diamond production at four mines operated by Debswana -- Botswana's 50-50 joint venture with De Beers -- could reach 33 million carats this year, surpassing a record 2004 production of 31 million carats, but said the forecast remained preliminary.
"We are estimating that the production will be a little higher than last year," he said. "At worst it will be the same as last year, at best a little better."
F 3) Received 30/11/05: PRESS RELEASE ON THE CENTRAL KALAHARI GAME RESERVE (CKGR): "INTERNATIONAL PUBLICITY ON THE BASARWA"
DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights is concerned about some of the media coverage relating to the Basarwa in Botswana, which does not appear to be contributing towards a constructive solution to the current impasse. The extensive amount of time required to defend against often personal attacks from an international non-governmental organisation is regrettable. It diverts time which could otherwise be spent addressing and assisting with the human rights issues of the Basarwa.
DITSHWANELO has since its establishment in 1993, been involved actively and regularly at local, regional and international levels, in representing the interests of the Basarwa. We have made constructive interventions on Basarwa issues before the African Commission on Human and People's Rights and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Whilst addressing a CIVICUS meeting in Gaborone in early 2004, we suggested that perhaps the time had come for mediation in order to enable the continuation of the negotiation process. Through our offices in Gaborone and Kasane, we have assisted and continue to assist the Basarwa, including with issues relating to their land rights, e.g. at Saikarawe in the North Western part of Botswana.
In 1999, we were instrumental in obtaining a stay of execution for two Basarwa men from Manxotae in the Central District, who were sentenced to death and who were subsequently acquitted in March 2005. We are currently facilitating the legal action of three Basarwa men who claim to have been tortured by Department of Wildlife officials. We enabled Amogelang Segootsane and his family to obtain their original water permit from the authorities in 2002. This also entailed raising funds for the transportation of water into the CKGR. We continue to assist him and his family.
As a human rights organisation, our key roles are to both protect and promote human rights. Whilst protection is often effected through the Court system, we consider the long-term promotion of human rights, including the application of judicious and diplomatic pressure on those in authority, to be of equal importance.
As those who know and work in Botswana will appreciate, the cultural preference for negotiation and diplomacy is in keeping with the social norms of this country. Respect should be accorded to those who have worked in Botswana; practically and on the ground for a number of years on this issue. Whilst international boycotts and the humiliation of governments may be effective in certain arenas, we would caution against any assumption that aggressive international pressure will inevitably achieve positive results. In fact, the main outcome of such pressure in Botswana, other than to hinder the possibility of effective negotiations, has been to rally the support of the people to its Government which is now perceived to be under attack.
From 1997 to 2001, a group of interested parties, including communities residing in the CKGR, the First Peoples of the Kalahari (FPK), the Working Group on Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA), the KURU Development Trust, the Botswana Council of Churches and DITSHWANELO engaged in negotiations with the Government and worked together with the Department for Wildlife and National Parks to develop a 'Management Plan' for the CKGR and Khutse Game Reserves. This plan sought to find a sustainable use of natural resources and wildlife inside the CKGR by the Basarwa communities.
During these negotiations, which were facilitated by the FPK attorney who was the head of the legal team, constructive meetings were held with former President Masire, Ministers Nasha, Mokgothu, Kwelagobe and the current Vice President, Ian Khama. There was every indication that this delicate process of negotiation could lead to a peaceful outcome. This would have enabled the Basarwa to participate effectively in processes for the sustainability and ownership of their own development.
Unfortunately, adverse international attention detracted from this process and contributed, regrettably, to a hardening of attitude of Government towards this issue. The intention to ensure sustainable development for the Basarwa communities continues to exist. DITSHWANELO once again calls for a return to constructive dialogue in place of costly and polarising litigation. In addition, we believe that the Government should regularly engage with its citizens on issues of national concern.
The issue of diamond mining in the CKGR has long been presented by Survival International as a reason for the relocation by the Government of the Basarwa. It is a convenient tool for those who wish to find a simple, easily identifiable motive with which to attract international support. Whilst the intention behind such a campaign may be to ensure that the Basarwa are allowed to return to the CKGR, in reality the lack of accurate information on this issue continues to seriously jeopardize the possibility of achieving that aim. NGOs have a duty to be accurate and professional in the way in which they present information in pursuit of their cause.
There is no conclusive evidence that the removal of the Basarwa is definitely to make way for diamond mining. To focus on this issue and to attack tourism, which is essential to the economy of Botswana, is not only to alienate those who have the power to help achieve the aims of the Basarwa, but it also draws attention away from the fundamental issue; namely development. The merits of relocating the Basarwa in the name of development must be explored critically and thoroughly. In accordance with a rights-based approach to development, DITSHWANELO has maintained and continues to maintain in the spirit of botho, that all people should be allowed to benefit from economic, social and political development, but not at the expense of their cultural identity.
It is our hope that all parties interested in the promotion and protection of the rights of the Basarwa now refocus their resources and attention in an effort to contribute constructively towards the attainment of our common goals.
F4) 2/12/05: "Don't dare attack Alice and Braam" by Derek James, letter in the Botswana Guardian, available online at: www.botswanaguardian.co.bw/930839495527.html
In response to Steven Corry's article and your title "Ditshwanelo and Kuru are useless", I am compelled to react, and as a former BBC correspondent, I do know a little about the three parties concerned.
Firstly your silly title is simply for effect, and should be ignored, except to say it was there for impact, purely to make us read the article, and in this it succeeded.
However for Steven Corry to denigrate Alice Mogwe and Braam Ie Roux is cheap, unprincipled, and very unfair. Both Ms Mogwe and Le Roux have had in the past strong differences with government, and for Corry to attack them, simply shows that Mogwe and Le Roux are the principled people, and their integrity is reinforced, because they are independent of both the Botswana government and Survival International, and have been under fire from both.
I have had the privilege of teaching Alice Mogwe at 0 and A level, before she became a highly qualified MA LLB (Cape Town) lawyer, who decided, unlike most lawyers, to try to make a positive difference in her work, and not simply to accumulate personal wealth. She is an ethical and principled young lady who is much admired.
I also tried to do something to help Le Roux when he was unfairly PI'd from Botswana many years ago, and I am delighted that the present government appreciates his work now.
Ditshwanelo and Kuru do excellent work and many Batswana (including Basarwa) owe a huge debt of gratitude to them.
For Mr Corry to involve Archie Mogwe (former Minister of Foreign Affairs) is a cheap shot, and shows how little he knows of the strong personalities of Mogwe and his daughter, certainly not always in agreement and never in connivance!
Incidentally in my work, I am involved with two Basarwa who won hotel scholarships to Disneyland, scholarships to Germany, and are now in England working successfully in the hotel industry, bringing back foreign exchange, and incidentally are both great traditional dancers.
So Mr. Corry, they have not lost their culture but are marrying elements of it with the real world. The only constant in life is change, and Survival must accept that, or has Mr. Corry a private agenda or Survival a funding problem?
For Debswana to come under fire is unfortunate, because this company and its geologists have been in the forefront of development in Botswana as a result of their discovery of diamonds in many areas of Botswana. They have an extensive, perhaps not yet sufficient, Corporate investment policy.
Finally I do hope that Roy Sesana and his minions are enjoying the next all expenses paid trip abroad, funded of course by Survival, which also has its own interests at heart.
The possible solution is for a round table or Kgotla conference, involving the Botswana Government, the Kuru Trust, Ditshwanelo, and the First People of the Kalahari.
Survival should of course be given copies of the minutes and decisions made.
G. Botswana in the Global Media November 2005
G 1) Global on line news reports about Botswana during the month of November 2005.
The numbers below are approximations and do not include all on line news reports, but rather those recent, up to 30 day old, stories that are being listed by major search engines with news categories, which were consulted for this survey. All categories are for text appearing online in the English language unless otherwise indicated.
1) & "AIDS" and/or "HIV" 516
2) & "South Africa" 833
3) & "Zimbabwe" 340
4) & "Trade" 232
5) & "President Mogae" 137
6) & "Democracy/Good Gov." 126
7) & "travel/tourism" 186
8) & "football/soccer" 103
9) & "Diamonds" 110
10) & "SADC" 63
11) & "Diamonds" & "Dev." 49
12) & "elephants" 74
13) & "Bushmen" 14
14) & "Masire" (former President) 13
15) "McCall Smith" (author) 12
16) & "Survival International" 6
G 2) Principal sources of online news reports about Botswana appearing on select major search engines for the month of November 2005:
SAPA (RSA) 16
SABC (RSA) 6
News24 (RSA) 5
Sunday Times (RSA) 6
Independent (RSA) 12
Zim Papers (Zimbabwe) 3
AFP (Agence France Presse) 8
IRIN (UN Info Network) 10
Inter Press Service (IPS) 0
Associated Press (AP) 128
Voice of America 13
Xinhua News (China) 9
Bloomberg International 5
United Press Inter. 4
Approximately 32% of the surveyed on-line reports mentioning Botswana were sourced directly from either the Botswana Press Agency (BOPA) (www.gov.bw/cgi-bin/news.cgi) or Mmegi (www.mmegi.bw). Most Mmegi reports, along with another 11 additional reports, were also distributed by allAfrica.com. A mere 2% of the stories were from other identified regional, SADC, media sources. The online editions of the local Botswana Gazette (www.gazette.bw), Midweek Sun (www.midweeksun.bw), Guardian (www.botswanaguardian.co.bw) and The Voice (www.thevoicebw.com) newspapers continue to not appear on the news search engines consulted for purposes of this survey.
End Notes: 1) Tautona Times; 2) Back issues and copies of speeches available; 3) Sources of Information on the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve
1) Tautona Times was launched in 2003 as a means to communicate scheduling and additional matters to the media and other interested stakeholders. It now has a direct global e-circulation of several thousand and is freely available to any who wish to receive it. But, we have no wish to spam. Requests for cancellation will be promptly acted on, as will any complaints about such things as double mailings.
2) Those seeking online information on the settlement of Botswana citizen outside of the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) can browse www.gov.bw/basarwa/index.html. For further information one can also contact the Director of the Public Relations, Research and Information Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Cliff Maribe, at Tel: (267) 3600763 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.